Trailer Trash

The cotton candy fiberglass in the walls blew everywhere when dad sledgehammered loose the copper pipes in the trailer for liquor money, motes drifting like fairies on their flyways in living room sun. I floated in the blow-up kiddie pool all summer, goldfish (Nanty Glow, Dimebag, Andromeda) in the water nibbling my toes. I remember, a magician came for my birthday, a real fire breather who swallowed kerosene and flame from a torch, juggled knives, pulled scarves from dad’s throat like vomit in a nonstop stream, a one-sided tug-of-war. The yard grew thick with fat gold bees and silk squares of cloth and kids drinking pop from plastic cups, enough for everyone, and then the magician plucked dad’s eyes out, a new trick, and I watched the vacant holes bubble up with engine oil and rum, in his hands my testes appeared then disappeared in a flash, wet as plums. Then my mother came on stage, yanked there by an umbrella hook, and the magician pulled pearls like bits of meat from her mouth, quarters from her ears, Coca-Cola from her nipples. He binds dad up with chains, drowsing and slobbering on the grass, passed out, fetters him like a Houdini going below Hudson ice in the iron box, and last, for the final trick, he pulls the match from his top hat, ignites it with the embers on his breath, and flings it through the trailer’s screen door.


This story appeared in Issue 9.2. Pick up your copy today. 

Joshua James Sanders studied English with an emphasis in Poetry at the Pennsylvania State University. His poems have appeared in Kalliope, Profane, and the Blue Earth Review. He likes and gathers inspiration from, among other things, county carnivals and the clowns that travel with them, and his neighbors’ dairy heifers.